Bowden makes pro debut

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — Despite having to wait almost two weeks to make his professional debut, former Vidalia Viking Barry Bowden made the most of his opportunity.

Monday night Bowden retired three batters in succession in the ninth inning of a 6-1 Burlington Royals win over the Pulaski Mariners.

“Coming in, I was struggling to locate my fastball,” Bowden said. “I fell behind 2-0 with the first batter and got the second to hit a ground ball to second.

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“I didn’t throw my changeup until the last hitter, it’s what I struck him out on.”

Bowden said he was satisfied with his debut.

“I’d say it was good one. It could have always been better, but it could always have been worse,” Bowden said.

Prior to the game, Bowden kind of had a hunch he was going to be making his Burlington debut.

“I had a pretty good chance,” Bowden said. “The manager asked before the game how I was feeling.”

When the call actually came for Barry to come into the game, it was a pretty basic conversation.

“They pretty much just handed me the ball and said get out there.

“I was more anxious than nervous. Just to get out there and throw, it’s been about a month since I pitched.”

Bowden said he had strained a his gluteus maximus muscle a few days earlier, but the pain in his leg had gone.

Not only has Bowden recovered from his leg injury, he said he is now fully recovered from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a portion of his senior season at Southern Miss.

Bowden said the transition from a starting pitcher to a relief pitcher — something he hasn’t done since his freshman year at Southern Miss — has been a little different, but the basics are still the same.

“It’s still the same game, still just playing catch with the catcher.”

As is the case with any new job requiring relocation, Bowden said the transition from college to the minors has been interesting.

“It’s definitely different,” Bowden said. “You’re coming into team where you know no one. You meet new people, new fans.”

New fans can always been interesting. Bowden said the park is nice and they Royals had as many as 3,000 fans the other night — a fireworks night.

Bowden’s roommate is Carson Bryant, a pitcher from the College of Southern Idaho.